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Dec 23, 2006



There is not such a thing, like " gamers with disabilities ".This is a false construct. There are just gamers-at least when about Internet. It really makes no diference what part of your body you use in order to click the mouse. Well, maybe it still does : i respect you more, when you manage to be better than me in a PvP -or whatever-, when -and if- i know that you are one-handed or such. If you can kill me using just one hand, or feet, or only your tongue ,or being blind, or whatever , then woah ! You are much better than me ! I respect you for that ! From my personal experience, i can tell you this : i hate my friend James : he have a disability and he always beat me in PvP and at Chess :( LOL !


I wonder if the show will cover blind chess players?


That's simply not true at all Amarilla, and in fact it's rather offensively dismissive of the huge challeges many disabled people can face in all sorts of activities, including gaming. Many disabilities profoundly affect what games a person can play. Even if they still *can* play the game, if they're having a harder time of it or playing worse than they otherwise would then they are clearly being affected by the disability.


I'll be joining TN as a guest blogger for a month in the near future and talking about this idea of whether or not it is a false construct or not. To be honest, there are a lot of online game worlds (second life comes to mind, although it's not designed as a "game world" exclusively) where speech input devices, which are notoriously for resulting in really difficult to read text, especially those with disabilities like, say, muscular dystrophy who may also have a speech impediment.

Also, take an online multiplayer game (MMORPG or FPS) -- the speed that battles occur. For some who have severe mobility disabilities and are using a sip/puff switch rigged up to a hacked controller, moving quickly against a player using a keyboard or standard controller is quite difficult and frustrating...and these assistive technology devices, for instance a hacked PS2 or Xbox 360 controller that works with the sip/puff switch in the end often cost a LOT more than the current PS3! Just the hacked controllers usually cost over $200. The cost in the end? Often a LOT more than the current PS3. So without a game designer paying mind to accessibility when they design...talk about feeling ripped off when that game doesn't work with your gaming set up! And others won't even bother because it's too much of a gamble to play games that may/may not work after getting all that equipment.

Also, think about the scaffolding that occurs in a multiplayer console game when a more experienced player sets their difficulty level higher and/or creates a form of social scaffolding where "new rules" are created to give a new player a chance (like buddying up with novices/experts in a MMORPG). For some people with disabilities, this leveling of the playing field needs to be increased even more; that is, an even GREATER level of novice/slow speed while they are getting their skills up in playing in this alternative way. So, yes, some people with disabilities indeed can play these games but think about the amount of passion for games it takes to really get someone to see gaming as a worthwhile effort. Then there's the amount of dependence many need to start/set up a a game.

So I agree that for some there is no such thing as a disability in an online multiplayer game IF a gamer has the money and the desire to get all the assistive technologies to play nice with each other and then practices, practices, and practices. For other gamers with disabilities (and the rest of us!), they play so much that they are just really, really good. So, yes, it can be a wonderful and powerful social entertainment tool for some with disabilities. But there's such a long way to go...and it's not just the industry that needs to respond -- many people with disabilities just assume that gaming is an enormous expense that's just not worth the investment and others assume that there's no way that gaming is even a possibility. So awareness sometimes goes in more than one way.

I could write much, much more...but I'll wait for my month of guest TN blogging. :) I'll keep responding to this thread, however, in the meantime.


I think it's great that NPR is taking an active interest in gamers with disabilities. Games unfortunately have to be defended often, and lots of people (myself included) defend games by saying that they're especially suited to people with mobility problems or disabilities. One tends to get the impression that anyone can jump right into gaming, regardless of the nature of their disability. Is this a pretty common misperception?

Are a lot of these guys exerting as much effort and resource on games as they might on other athletics?

I'm excited to hear more on this.


Hi Neils,

Yes, it is a common misperception that video games are already accessible. The sad truth is that the majority of those with disabilities have just resigned themselves to the fact that games are just not for them because no one has bothered to think about them in the design and the games that they have played were a complete waste of money due to so many barriers. So, yes, I'm looking forward to continuing the conversation when I guest blog here. :) Lots to talk about, including the defense of games and accessibility.

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